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Cracking the iPhone: iCracked

A college student stealing business from Apple? AJ Forsythe has built his business on fixing iPhone cheaper and more conveniently.
“If you want to start a company, you just have to go out and do it,” says founder AJ Forsythe (pictured fourth from the right), with the iCracked team.
  • Founders: Leslee Lambert, 22; AJ Forsythe, 23; Anthony Martin, 24
  • Year founded: 2010
  • Location: Redwood City, CA
  • 2011 Revenue: $200,000+
  • 2012 Projected Revenue:$1.4 million+
  • Employees: 140
  • Website: iCracked.com
  • Facebook: Facebook.com/iCracked
  • Twitter: @iCracked
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AJ Forsythe was becoming one of Apple’s best customers. He broke his iPhone countless times and had to bring it in for expensive repairs. Until, one day, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He ordered parts online to repair his phone, successfully dismantled the device, and with the help of some electrical engineering friends—managed to fix it. 

Forsythe not only walked away from the experience with a fully functioning iPhone, but a business idea as well. In January 2010, Forsythe launched his iPhone repair company, iCracked, as a junior at California Polytechnic State University, founding the company with Leslee Lambert and Anthony Martin. 

“If you want to start a company, you just have to go out and do it,” says Forsythe. “You can learn more about business during the first three months of starting a company than in 20 years, so I just went for it.”

Starting on college campuses, iCracked went from serving one university to 65 universities within one year, and now has 120 locations worldwide, with expected revenues of over $1 million for 2012, according to Forsythe.

“Its very natural for people to go back to where they purchased their phones for repairs,” says Forsythe, “But when you factor in convenience and price—that’s where you find the source of our success.” 

Running on a turn key business model, with similarities to a franchise—iCracked is made up of iTechs who are provided with the marketing, training parts, operations manuals and backend support to successfully repair iPhones and other Apple devices at any of the iCracked locations. The company also does mail-in services, wholesale distribution, iPhone buyback and refurbishing and has recently entered the retail space. 

“One of the things we take very seriously is who we want on this team and the culture we are building as a company,” says Forsythe. 

To maintain quality service, all iTechs undergo a screening process and are monitored by Alan Davis, the iTech manager who remains in frequent contact with all the locations. 

“I have also always been passionate about businesses giving back and making their communities better,” says Forsythe.

To do just this, iCracked will be opening a retail space in Long Beach this March which will be run by emancipated foster youths ages 18 to 21, whose wages will be subsidized. ICracked is now in the process of refurbishing an old 1900s hotel for the retail space, but the youths will be living in the old rooms above the offices. 

“We are very excited about this venture, it is going to be a great experience for us,” says Forsythe.

The iCracked team is very excited about moving forward with this and other projects, says Forsythe. They are looking to continue to expand, building on the company’s unique culture and success. 

“I can’t tell you what a ride this has been. We have had so much fun this far and I can’t wait for what comes next,” says Forsythe. 

Cracking the iPhone: iCracked

A college student stealing business from Apple? AJ Forsythe has built his business on fixing iPhone cheaper and more conveniently.

Last updated: Mar 4, 2012

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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